Picture Perfect

Chapter One

I didn't like being labeled a hero. I didn't like labels at all.                                                                       

I didn't like that news people were camped out at my front door, and the back as well, and I could see the ones at the front door from this window across the street at the one empty apartment in this building I owned across from the house I had lived in and had owned for the last several years, since my grandmother had died and left it to me in her will. It was a house that had been filled with love.

From where I stood watching the media circus, I had seen two news crews circling around to the back, they all thought I was in the house and they all wanted my story, whether at the front or the back. I'm so glad that my great-grandfather had been a bootlegger during prohibition and had provided his beloved family and himself a means of escape from the feds; should they ever come calling. In the house's basement there was a cold storage room where my great-grandmother had stored her canned goods, not the stuff that comes in tins in the grocery store, but the stuff she used to "put up," or canned herself in half-quart mason jars every late September and early Fall from produce grown in her own garden. She passed on the process to my grandmother and my mother learned from her mother. I learned about the tunnel from my grandfather.

It ran under the street to the basement of the apartment building my grandfather had built 40 years ago, one of his first building projects, and probably the nicest. It was four stories high and had three, three bedroom apartments on each floor; it had roomy elevators, built in trash chutes on each floor, a decent laundry room on each floor. A nice garden in the back, next to a paved parking lot for the building tenants use. It had the exit for the tunnel in a storage room behind the boiler in the basement.

The media frenzy was due to reports at the police station that I had saved thirty-five men, women and children from their certain deaths from a fire in their tenement building, A few blocks from the club I had been leaving and I was a block or two away on foot when I smelt the all too familiar odor of burning wood, and the odor of something else, the smell familiar because of a few things. First, I smelt the odor of charcoal starter fluid, you know, it has a distinctive odor. If you use too much, whatever you cook on your grill smells like it, the second reason was that my dad had been a firefighter and an arson investigator for the state's arson squad. I had learned a lot just hanging around him, both in his office at the station-house, and at home, especially if he was barbecuing out on the back patio, that's when we had our best talks, right up to the day he died in a fire, victim to a falling beam.

I had been 14 at the time and in our working-class neighborhood of retired people, working middle-aged couples and singles, I was left in the care of my grandmother when my widowed mom went to work in the big city. She visited almost every other weekend, but she was a changed person, who didn't see the change my father's death had had on me. My grandmother did, she saw me every day, saw or heard my crying jags, knew that my father's death was also the cause of my mother's estrangement from her only child, the child that reminded her of my dad, the one who looked just like him, acted like him, sounded like him, but was also different.

I was a good student and soon settled into a routine at grandma's, breakfast at her table, school, dinner with her and then homework and studying, repeat five days a week and then on the weekends throw in mass on Sundays and yard work in the afternoons for my grand's yard and some of the older neighbors, shoveling snow replacing yard work in the winter. I got for Christmas one year; I think my fifteenth, a set of barbells and a weight bench. The card said they were from Santa, so I knew they were from my grandmother, and not my mother, who had given me dorky underwear and fifty dollars and a card from "Your Mother", not "Love, Mom".

I used the barbells and weight bench after studying every night. Gram gave me the storage room in the basement, not the cold one, but this one had heat in it in winter and the other months it was comfortable. I really didn't pay that much attention to how much my body had changed until one of the younger coaches at the high school noticed me in the locker room at the beginning of my junior year. He didn't make a big deal of it then and there, just mentioned that I certainly had changed over the past couple of semesters. He was a good guy, one of the new breed of gym teachers who didn't always put the emphasis on sports, but of the well being of the students under his care.

He spent more and more time around me in class and he even talked me into helping out in the afternoons by picking up the equipment we had used in the class and helping to stow it in the proper cabinets and storage lockers after the class had left. He had arranged with my study hall teacher for me to be there in the gym with him, and we often showered after the picking up was done. One day he offered to wash my hair for me and before I knew it he was right behind me, up against my back, shampooing my hair and running his hard prick up and down the crack of my big bubble butt. He softly asked if I wanted to fool around with him and I told him I might, but not here at school, definitely not at school.

I had done some exploring on the Internet, and had read some of the gay stories there, and I did really want to explore some of those things. However, the school was three blocks from my Grandmother's house, and I could remember my dad telling me not to shit in my own backyard, one of his life lessons that he had passed on to me. Coach and I agreed to meet on Saturday afternoon and we'd go somewhere alone, just the two of us.

He picked me up outside the school about 2 that Saturday afternoon and he drove me to his apartment about ten blocks away. As soon as we were in his efficiency, he had his arms around me and I was getting kissed on the mouth for the first time by someone who wanted to spend time there, not just a peck from a relative. We had just gotten to the point where I got to taste the inside of his mouth when we were interrupted by a knock on his door, which we were standing in front of. It was his boyfriend, another 20 something who looked at me furiously and at coach as if he could kill him, I quickly scooted around the open door as they were beginning to argue and I beat the hell out of there.

I, of course, ignored all of Coach's tries at explanations until he got the idea that I wasn't going to listen to any lame excuses from him. I resolved to either wait until I was older myself, or find someone my own age to experiment with. The perfect opportunity came over the summer vacation at the end of my junior year. I met a lad at the corner store who grabbed my attention big time, and my sweaty gardening outfit, or was it the odor of sweat and cut grass caught his? He looked to be my age, he was as built as I was, and when we had both paid for whatever we had been sent to the store for, we found out we were heading the same way.

 He asked if I was Tom, the guy who had just cut his grandmother's lawn the other day, and I responded that it was possible, but I needed to know who his grandmother was before I could give him an accurate answer. He blushed, and told me his grandmother was Mrs. Porter, and he was Jeff Porter. He had just come to stay with her for the rest of the summer, as his father, who had just divorced his mother, had gone off to England for a two-month tutorial at Cambridge College where he was going to teach on a fellowship grant the next two semesters. His mother taught at a prestigious women's college in New England and couldn't have Jeff with her this summer, so he was going to spend the summer here in Brooklyn with his grandmother, and maybe the next year of high school too, his senior year.

I told him I was Tom Morris, living with my grandmother two houses down from where he was staying. We were looking at each other, he in a tight tank top and cut off jean shorts, and me in an old pair of ratty gym shorts and a work out tank, split from an inch up from the bottom hem up through the arm holes. I liked the way that the material would catch every breeze and the way the material moved across my engorged nipples. It also showed off my really toned and buff chest and abs, not to mention my big guns, the 17-inch biceps I had earned with my weights. Jeff appeared to be no slouch in the body department and we each checked out each other's butts as we walked, both appearing to be nice and plump, but hard, there was definite movement under our shorts as we walked.

We exchanged a lot of information as we covered the two and a half blocks from the corner store to our grandmothers' houses, both across the street from the "luxury" apartments my forefather had built years before I was born. We agreed to meet up after dinner, which was eaten in the neighborhood at about 6 PM, and sometimes earlier for some of the older folks. After I had helped Gran wash up the dinner dishes and the pots and pans, I headed out to the front of the house and sat on the front porch to await Jeff, as we had said we would meet there.

I had no sooner gotten settled in the lawn chair I favored when Jeff showed up and took the seat next to me. We exchanged our thoughts about the meals we had just shared with our grandmothers and we decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood so I could point out places of interest to him, like the school we both might be attending. The first place I pointed out to him was the sleek brick apartments across the street, telling him that my grandmother now owned them after my grandfather had left them to her in his will. I then showed him around the neighborhood, and we paused when we arrived at the high school just a few blocks from home. Since it was summer, there wasn't anyone around so I led him around to the back of the building, pointing out the baseball diamond and bleachers, which he could obviously identify, but he didn't know about the restrooms under the bleachers and I led him there and showed him just how much I found him so attractive.

Once inside the men's restroom, I asked if I could kiss him and he responded by putting his arms around my neck and pulling me willingly into an embrace which we sealed with our lips and we swapped spit for what felt like hours as we lost ourselves to each other in that soul searching kiss. Our hands roamed all over each other's muscles and we both ended up holding each other's hard leaking dicks in our hands. He loved my uncut nine incher and I liked the feel of his thick rod in my hand. As we kissed, we continued to stroke the other and soon enough we were both spewing out our loads onto the floor of the room.

I told Jeff I couldn't wait to try that again, but maybe not standing up and he suggested we find a way to do just that. We cleaned up as best we could and left to continue our walk around the neighborhood, occasionally bumping hands as we did so. We ended our walking tour at his grandmother's house and we sat with her on her front porch for a few minutes before I told them I should be heading home as it was now dark out and Gram would be wondering where I was. I left them there and went home to sit with my own grandmother for a while before taking myself off to bed, where I replayed tonight’s episode in the ballpark restroom twice again before sleep and multiple orgasm exhaustion lulled me to a deep and restful slumber.

At breakfast, the next morning Gram told me that one of the tenants across the street was moving and did I know someone who might be willing to help me to repaint the whole place before the new tenants moved in, in a month. I told her about Jeff and that he was Mrs. Porter's grandson who had just moved in with her and she said I should ask him, because if not she would have to hire someone to do the painting for her. I went down to talk to Jeff about painting with me for the next few weeks and he was enthusiastic about it so we went to Gram's and she told us she would provide all the materials and all we had to do was lug it all from the basement over there to the back apartment on the second floor, the one we were to paint. She told us she would check on us every few days to see how we were progressing, but otherwise, we were on our own.

It proved to be easier than we had thought at first. Since I had helped my grandpa do the re-painting on two of the units before he had passed, I basically knew we had to do the ceilings first so we started at one end of the unit and moved on from there, working our way with the ceilings all the way which took a few days to do and then we began taping off the walls and woodwork and began on the walls. We had a lot of fun along the way and we found ways to get off several times a day while we were working. We learned to frot and later we began working as much on 69ing as we did on getting paint on the walls. At the end of two more days, we had another visit from Grandma just as we had finished our second round of afternoon sex. We had thankfully cleaned ourselves up, and we both had wet rollers in our hands when she announced her arrival by ringing the downstairs doorbell before riding the elevator up to see our progress, and thankfully we had by then all the bedroom walls done and only had the bath, kitchen, and living room/dining room to do.

She complimented us on the good job we were doing and she was chuckling as she pointed to the front of my cutoffs, showing me where there was a handprint in paint covering the front of my shorts and I blushed and she just chuckled and told me to wipe off my hands before I "adjusted" myself. I realized after she had left that it was Jeff's handprint, not mine and I returned the favor by leaving one of mine on his butt, which led to a serious groping session, which led to me tasting his butt for the first time. I couldn't believe just how much he loved that, until a few days later he did the same to me, and I told him after that episode we were going to have to draw straws to determine who fucked who first.

We spent our time at the apartment, not just painting and experimenting with sex, but really getting to know each other, I mean by the time we were cleaning up the few drips and blotches we had made we knew what vegetables we each liked, what our favorite and best subjects were in school, who we favored in elected positions both locally and nationally, and what we wanted to do with our lives after high school and beyond college. What we wanted to do with our lives, and with who besides us. That last one was for both of us the same answer," You", we told each other, and that was the afternoon we tried butt sex for the first time. We knew there was a certain amount of preparing each other we had to do, and days ago, we had carried the necessities with us into the apartment.

We covered a camping mattress with a clean drop cloth and made sure the front door of the apartment was locked. We did actually draw straws and we learned that Jeff was going to receive. I spent over a half hour just playing with his hole, getting three fingers all lubed up swirling around in him until he begged me to fuck him and once I was all greased up I slid myself into him very slowly, letting him determine when he was ready for another inch. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and Jeff told me later, after I had planted my seed as far inside him as I could get, that it was for him too. Two hours later, when we realized that the apartment was finished and all cleaned up, we reversed positions.

I don't care what anyone says, that experience only bonded us together even more if that was possible. The care he took to get me ready equaled what I had done for him and even if I was longer than him, he was certainly much thicker than I was and he was such a concerned lover that I just shoved back on him after the first two pauses he made to help me adjust to his girth. I wanted him so bad at that point I threw all caution to the wind and took him all the way in and began to love his dick in me. I told him later, as we basked in the afterglow, that I thought we were the perfect couple, that we both enjoyed giving as well as taking and what we shared was very, very special.

We received Grandma at the apartment the next day after we had told her the next morning we were totally finished and five days earlier than our estimate. She walked around each re-painted room and told us what a great job we had done for her and she gave us each five hundred dollars and told us that we had earned every penny of that. Jeff and I had agreed to use some of the money for a trip into the city (New York) but we hadn't settled on when we would go and exactly what we would do.

Over the next couple of days we discussed things we wanted to do and even looked up things on the internet and decided on a matinee performance of "Hamilton", an early dinner after at one of the many delis in the theater district and an evening stroll window shopping, as we were spending so much on the theater tickets. We had decided on a visit to the Metropolitan Museum before the show so we left on the subway after saying goodbye to our grandmothers on that Friday afternoon and we reached Manhattan about 40 minutes later. We each had felt in our pockets to see what our grandmothers had tucked in there as we left and found that they each had slipped us both a hundred dollar bill.

We were walking down 5th avenue after walking past the United Nations complex a block or two away when we were asked by a gentleman if he could take our pictures. He was a very pleasant looking guy, and didn't appear to be a tourist, so we let him snap a few pics as we lounged against a building at 5th and 32nd streets. He told us that if his client liked the pictures we could expect more opportunities for further photographic work from him, but we had to give him a way to contact us. I was pretty skeptical of all this by then, and I figured that Jeff was too, so I gave him the cell number of my drugstore cell phone. One that I knew was still working, as I only used that old phone for my mother's infrequent calls and that it was currently charging on my bedside table and had about a hundred airtime minutes still on it. The one I carried was much newer and my Gran had given it to me when I had graduated from junior year at the beginning of the summer when I had made honor roll for the third year in a row.

The rest of our day was pretty uneventful, but Jeff kept noticing guys checking us out as we strolled about and soon I could spot them too as I looked in shop windows. I guess we looked pretty good, I know Jeff did, he looked fantastic in his Wranglers and a tight body-hugging red T, and since the summer had begun his golden hair had lightened up more and it looked like his close-cropped curls were each highlighted. I had on similar attire, but my jeans were Levis and my tight T was white, which set off my slightly darker Italian coloring and my coal black curly hair. Our muscles really showed in those T's and the tight jeans barely had room for our muscled legs and thighs, not to mention our muscled asses.

The performance of Hamilton was fantastic and after we ate at a deli that had a lot of star's photos on the walls. Our stroll back to the subway was again punctuated by men, and a few women, following us with their eyes as we moved along the streets, but we paid them no mind as we had to catch one of the next few subways into Brooklyn in order to get home in time for dinner with our grandmothers.

The next day we each related to each other about our dinners the previous night with our respective grandmothers and how they each wanted to know everything we had done and seen. It wasn't that either one of them had never been into the city before, I thought they each wanted to relive some of the excitement we had felt on our day trip there. We settled into what was to be the rest of the summer for us, mowing lawns together and tending to our grandmothers' gardens and those of some of the neighbors for which we also received some spending money.

One such neighbor was a pair of older gentlemen, retired from the city now and had been for as long as I could remember. They were the first ones to ask my grandmother if I would like to earn "pocket money" mowing for them and shoveling in the winter. They had asked me to call them Sam and Joe from the get-go, so that is how I introduced them to Jeff the first time we went to tend their yard that summer, two days after our New York City trip. Sam and Joe had lemonade for us about two hours into our mowing and weeding and when they found out we had spent the other day in the big city they also had to hear all about our adventure and we told them everything. I felt we were safe telling them everything since they always liked it when I worked their yard shirtless, and their tip showed their appreciation for their viewing pleasure. With Jeff clued in he too removed his shirt as soon as we entered their fenced in yard and we often wiped each other's sweat off our torsos with a hand towel, I had thought to bring along. As we sat with them on their small patio drinking our lemonade, we regaled them with our adventure, including the photographer and our impression of "Hamilton".

Sam and Joe exchanged glances and then described our photographer to a T. Jeff and I just looked at them, our mouths hanging open, and they explained that they knew of the man from when they worked in the city. He was a well known legitimate talent scout for a fashion magazine, but he was also known for getting young men to pose for dirty pictures and then selling them to collectors of such porn.  Sam and Joe told us that we were too young for that kind of work, but after we were 18, next summer, if we needed money for college, they could recommend a more reliable photographer who would pay us handsomely for pictures of us singly, or together which would earn us much more money. Our tip alone that one day was sixty dollars and I think it was because we let Sam and Joe catch us kissing in their backyard, our hardons peeking over the tops of our rather well-worn jean cutoffs, just before we pulled our tank tops on before we left.

I told the man who called on my other phone that we were underage and he'd have to call our father if he wanted to photograph us any more and that we were told by him that he wouldn't let any shots of us already taken be used by anyone, and now I had his phone number locked in my phone so I could turn it over to my father and his lawyer. I never heard from him again.

Our summer turned into one of great prosperity for us, working as a team, we tended to fifteen lawns and gardens a week and toward the end of July, we had another apartment to repaint for my grandmother. Our twice a month jobs at Joe and Sam's became an afternoon-long tease for each of us as we tried to be as provocative as we could with each other, giving Sam and Joe a good show while we were there, and the last visit we made there before school started we mowed and weeded in just jock straps. They presented us with a hundred dollar bill each for our tip that day, and we hugged them and felt up their small butts as we let them run their hands over our muscle butts for the last time that year. We still tended their yard, but it was a lot cooler in September and we would more than likely be fully clothed during subsequent visits. They remained customers for the rest of the year and were customers right through the winter months into the next Spring and Summer, where again they got a show during the hotter months.

Our school year (yes, Jeff ended up staying at his grandmother's house for his senior year) was great, I think because we were together. We had all our classes together and we studied together. We both went out for track in the Spring and final semester and although we looked big and muscular, which we were, we could also run and we both excelled in the shot put and javelin. The coach was really pleased and since it was the one who had tried to fool around with me we usually timed our showers for a time we would be alone in there and we tried to give him a show about twice a week or so. He tried to reciprocate several times, but he finally got the hint that we were together, and we didn't mind the odd caress or pat, but we didn't invite anyone to play with us in a sexual way. He became a respectful observer. We had a great academic year also, and around Thanksgiving, we started to look at colleges we could apply to, planning on going to the same one and rooming together. We settled on the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. We both wanted to teach and we decided on the Amherst campus because not only would we receive a really good education, no matter if we decided on grade school, or a higher level of teaching, like the college level, but that campus was only a short hour and a half by fast car from our grandmothers and it would make visits home easy on all concerned. We could even take a train from Springfield to Brooklyn if the weather was too bad for a winter visit by car.

Sam and Joe had a friend who was much younger than they were who would be glad to rent us an apartment off campus after our first semester of mandatory dorm living, and the rent was affordable for us both, so once we were accepted we had a plan in place. We both received acceptance letters the week after our Christmas break. We were excited by the fact we were accepted so quickly, but then realized that my parents had written our referral letters and both had taught there at one time or another before going on to other institutions. We would for the first time in our lives be living away from all our relatives, but together for the first time.

We met with two kids from another block, two middle school friends who had heard we were going away in mid-August to go to college. and they asked if they could take over our lawn and shoveling customers, so we took them around to our regulars and had them write the particulars for each one, and ended up at Sam and Joe's. We explained the work that needed to be done, and on an impulse I told them that they might make a little extra in tips there if they wore skimpy shorts and worked topless, letting the old men have a look at their young bodies as they worked. They both smiled and nodded, and we heard that they even traded blow jobs in the yard one hot afternoon the next summer and it nearly sent the grateful seniors to the hospital!

For our last afternoon tending their yard, Jeff and I stripped off our sweaty jocks and frotted for a while under the spray from the garden hose and then performed our well-practiced 69 out on the lawn in front of the dining room window where we knew Sam and Joe were watching us. We each gave them a kiss before we dressed and Jeff said that Joe had been pretty weepy when we left. Two days later, we were on our way to Amherst.

After fond farewells from our grands, and admonishments to study hard, we took off in an older Plymouth Voyager van, loaded with what we hoped was what we'd need for the dorm room we had been signed up for, and yes, we were sharing a double room. All went well our first semester, until the van broke down and it was going to cost twenty-five hundred dollars to repair. We took the seven hundred the junkyard offered to "part it out" and we sold it to them as junk.

We took the train home for the holidays and one afternoon we visited Sam and Joe and related our vehicle misery and that we only needed a thousand more to be able to purchase another vehicle. They offered to give us the money, but neither Jeff nor I was comfortable taking money from them for that. They did suggest that we might be able to earn some quick money modeling for their friend in the city, and we told them that at least we would be earning our own money, so we'd do it, as long as it was on the up and up.

The modeling session was set up for a few days later and we were paid handsomely for three hours of posing in bathing suits and other beachwear. The amount we each earned was two thousand dollars and we were told by the photographer that should we find ourselves in a money crunch again just give him a call and he would find something for us to earn money at. We thanked him and took his card and the next day we went out and bought a better small van and had it checked out thoroughly. We had enough left over to treat the grands to dinner out and the next night we treated Sam and Joe by performing a 69 on their living room rug while they watched.

We returned to the campus two days before the rest of the students were to return before classes started for the second semester. We had to move into the one bedroom off-campus apartment in a big Victorian that younger friend of Sam and Joe had put us in contact with. The apartment was on the second floor and there was even room for a weight bench and our set of dumbbells. We didn't have to buy a thing, except a couple of sets of new queen-sized sheets. The landlord was no longer living in the house himself, but he was still in town. The house was broken into four apartments and the other tenants were either students or employed by the university.

We attended classes, studied hard, worked out just about every day, and made love every day, either in bed or on the weight bench. Near the end of our first year, we were in really good shape, both school wise and physically. We had passed on to our sophomore year with straight A averages and we had been contacted by the photographer with the offer of more modeling jobs through the summer so we could replenish our dwindling funds. We, of course, spent that summer with the grands and boy was that hard to get used to after having each other so close for almost a year, but we found ways to have our fun, especially when we went into the city for our modeling gigs.

Our summer started out with a few more resort wear shoots and then it was winter wear and then Spring wear. One afternoon in our changing room the photographer told us about a shoot he was offered that involved some nudity and he asked if we'd be his subjects. We asked how public these photos would become and he assured us that they were for a European gay magazine and would only be distributed there. Of course, there was the possibility of someone purchasing one over in Europe and bringing it home, but it would definitely not be sold here in the states. The money offered was huge. We would be earning $125,000.00 each. We thought about it for a day and even talked to Sam and Joe about it and we all agreed that it was a big amount of money to turn down at our ages, and even if the photos reached the states, we could somehow find a way to explain them away, or turn ourselves into porn stars.

We agreed to the photo shoot of Jeff and me having simulated sex in front of a camera, but as you've guessed by now, the damn shoot was so stimulating that we ended up really having intercourse with each other in many configurations that afternoon and on into the evening. It was draining work, but then we were the ones so turned on that we actually did the draining we were supposed to be faking for the camera. We chuckled that night at Sam and Joe's as we showered off the temporary hair coloring we had had professionally applied that morning of the shoot and we again became the raven-haired Tom and the blond-haired Jeff who were then removing the temporary tattoos with alcohol supplied by Sam and Joe. We had decided at the last minute to disguise ourselves, somewhat, by reversing our hair colors, removing our body hair, and applying the temporary transfer tattoos on various body parts.

When we received our checks for that one shoot at the end of the month we were pleased to find we had received a bonus of ten thousand each for not only the extended shoot, but for the real sex, we had allowed the photographer to shoot. We combined our checks and opened a money market account with most of the money, putting it to work for us before we even returned to school, keeping only ten thousand in our shared checking account for rent and emergencies. We had a few more clothed fashion shoots that summer and all that money also went into investment accounts as well.

In August, we prepared to go back to school and our apartment, secure in knowing we had enough money invested for our educations should we lose our scholarships for any reason and that we could pay our rent and support our aging van. We again left our grands for another semester and we did return to our apartment and even wrote a check for the whole semester's rent, which got us a 20% reduction for the semester. We got back into our studies and declared ourselves as education majors, high school level. We spent all our spare time maintaining our bodies in our improvised home gym, only because it made us feel so good, and afforded us the opportunity to show our appreciation for each other during the workout time which only augmented our bedtime romps.

I won't say that we never had other offers from either students or staff at the college, but it was pretty clear to anyone with a brain that we were together, as in really together, and it was going to stay that way. We often thanked those who might have seen us in our fashion shoot layouts in magazines, but declined any offers to "get together" with both the admirers from the female groupies and the male ones. It was just a job to us and that was how we left it. We did make friends, usually, someone from our study groups or our classes and there was that economics professor and her husband who had invited us to a dinner at their home which we enjoyed and we actually met another couple there, Simon and Grant who were both in the university's administration offices. We had a casual but friendly relationship with this devoted couple who also were getting tired of people trying to fix them up with other singles. When Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage they were one of the first couples married at Amherst town hall, Jeff and I were the couple married right after them.

We told our grandmothers about our love and marriage and they were thrilled for us and Sam and Joe were over the moon with happiness for us. They sent us a sterling set of flatware we loved and used some pieces every day from then on.

We maintained our high grades throughout the remainder of our college years, never falling below a B+ for a final grade in any subject. We were scheduled to graduate with high honors and we learned from our grandmothers that our remaining parents had been invited to our graduation ceremony but we never heard from any of them about attending, the Grands showed up with Sam and Joe, much to our delight.

We had been applying to various school districts near Amherst for teaching or administrative positions. Ideally, we wanted the same school district so when we received formal requests to interview for teaching positions at the Granby Mass. High School, only ten or twelve miles from the University, we jumped at the chance as we'd be able to work on our masters and remain close to the research we had become used to being near, as well as our advisers.

We were both offered positions with the high school in Granby, Jeff as a history teacher at the freshman and sophomore levels and me as one of the English teachers for the same grade levels. After the acceptance of our offers we had a meeting with the principal of the school and he explained that they wondered if we wanted to volunteer as assistant coaches of the school's track team, as they knew from our transcripts that we had participated on our own high school's track team and that by looking at us he could tell we were in pretty great shape still. We had thought about doing something like this and so we agreed. He then asked how long we had been married and we looked at him oddly I guess because we had been very upfront about us being a married couple, and he smiled and said he was just curious because he and his husband had been married for a year by that time and they had been first fostered and then adopted by and raised by a married male couple, well known in the town. We thanked Mr. Sargent-Major for his frankness and then told him a bit of our story. We all got along great and we knew we had made the right decision to accept the jobs offered here. Now we needed to find somewhere to live. We had almost three months before school started.

Comments, suggestions and even criticisms always appreciated at Art West